How Long After Open-Heart Surgery Can You Be Left Alone? While how long after open-heart surgery can you be left alone is a subjective comment to make, as it may vary from one case to another, medical experts often claim that it requires a minimum of one or two weeks!
However, you may require about four to six weeks to recover fully, and during such a period, it is certainly advisable not to be alone to avoid any mishaps. You may sort out a self-care checklist to get back to your regular schedule in the meantime, thereby reducing the recovery time required for you to be alone.
This blog post can show you all! So, get ready to learn them.
How Long After Open-Heart Surgery Can You Be Left Alone?
Surgery performed on your heart muscles, valves, or blood vessels near your heart is what medical science calls open-heart surgery. It is an invasive process where your chest gets cut open for the surgeon to reach your heart and treat the disease.
The surgery involves a heart-lung bypass machine that does what your heart is supposed to, as your heart gets stopped during the operation. This machine aims to add oxygen to your blood, circulate blood through your body, and eliminate carbon dioxide.
Open-heart surgery can treat various heart conditions, such as –
- Congenital heart anomalies, be it a hole in the heart or an undeveloped heart structure,
- Heart valve diseases, like a leaky valve or a narrowed one,
- Coronary artery disease,
- Arrhythmias (issue with the heartbeat; uneven heartbeat)
- Heart failure,
- Bulging in the aorta running through your chest, and so forth!
No matter which open-heart surgery you pursue, it’s a serious operation and seeks close monitoring and post-operative support. That is why you cannot be left alone soon after this process.
Your Hospital Stay During An Open Heart Surgery: How Long Is The Recovery Time To Get Discharge?
When it comes to the question of how long after open-heart surgery can you be left alone, the most essential part to consider is the first four to five days of your hospital stay.
During this period, you need a lot of care and attention since you have a fresh wound in your chest. Besides, open-heart surgery has risks and chances of health complications, like infections around the incision site, bleeding, stroke, etc. Your doctor shall not want you to leave it to the hands of God, of course!
Moreover, after open heart surgery, you may experience depression or mood swings, loss of appetite, constipation, muscle pain near your chest, pain near the incision site, difficulty sleeping, and more. So, the healthcare provider in the hospital sees whether there is any such problem and provides an immediate and appropriate medical solution to ease you out!
The healthcare provider shall offer all essentials to care for your incision, from a firm pillow that can protect your chest when you sneeze or cough to medications and food. They shall check on you daily to assess your recovery and keep an eye on your pulse rate, blood pressure, sugar, etc.
What To Expect At Home After An Open Heart Surgery: The Ongoing Process of Recovery!
Alas, getting discharged from the hospital after your open heart surgery does not mean you can be left alone to mind your business! You have an incision in your chest which needs a few more weeks to heal.
This is also when you need care, your mother’s homemade healthy foods as per your diet chart, timely medicines, and health checkups in intervals. Your doctor may prescribe blood thinners to stop blood clots from developing during this phase! They may also suggest cardiac rehabilitation that includes exercise, risk management, education on heart health, diet & nutrition, emotional support, etc.
You may have body weakness, fatigue, anxiety, itchy skin, and trouble with short-term memory. The pain medicines may bring forth problems passing stool. Undoubtedly, they are normal after open heart surgery. In fact, shortness of breath is another common side effect of this surgical treatment, and people often keep and use oxygen cylinders at home for this reason!
Although it’s expected you may recover from this phase within six weeks from the time of your surgery, the rise of a further health complication may escalate it to even twelve weeks or so! Sometimes, these complications appear because of the patient’s negligence in following the doctor’s instructions.
For instance, doctors ask patients not to lift heavy things or drive for six weeks after open heart surgery. If you do not follow such instructions, there’s a high chance that the incision site may open up, leading to blood loss.
Steps To Get Back To The Daily Routine After An Open Heart Surgery!
Yes. You may get back to your daily routine quicker if you follow self-care techniques and all that your doctors ask you to do and don’t! For the first two weeks at home, you need a caregiver’s help for –
- Cleaning and dressing the incision site,
- Monitoring your weight and noting any abnormal symptoms,
- Helping you with daily self-care tasks, like brushing your teeth, going to the washroom, and so on!
The Do’s to follow are –
- You must continue the breathing exercises as taught in the hospital.
- You need to keep your incision area protected from the sun to eliminate the risk of sunburn.
- Walking is undoubtedly an effective exercise for your heart and lungs after surgery. So you may move around a bit every day!
- You must take healthy meals and avoid junk or spicy foods during this time.
- You may meditate for an hour every day to relieve stress.
- You should keep your arms closer to the sides when using them.
The Don’ts to follow are –
- No bending or stretching backward!
- No weight lifting!
- No stopping medications if not asked for!
- No swimming or soaking in the hot tub unless the incision gets healed!
- No travel for the first two to four weeks!
Final Thoughts: No wonder how long after open-heart surgery can you be left alone depends on how well your incisions recover! It may take six, eight, twelve months or even more! All you can do is strictly listen to your doctor’s instructions and take a rest. Do not try to act as per your terms. Instead, gather mental strength and help your body heal!